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Built Environment

Construction - Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA)

Start Date: 14th September 2021
Code: PHPB1854

  • Higher Education
  • Full-time
  • Ballymena
  • Course Information
  • We are currently not accepting applications for this course. To make an enquiry or register your interest please email the course contact below. Applications for 2022/23 will open in January 2022.


Duration: 2 Years Full-time
Start date: 14th September 2021
End date: 20th June 2023
Day: One day per week at College
Information Event: Y

Northern Regional College is offering a Higher Level Apprenticeship in a number of Construction pathways. Each programme has been designed to provide the construction and civil engineering sector in Northern Ireland with high grade technicians and professionals who have practical skills, combined with a higher education qualification.

The programme will facilitate progression from Level 3 apprenticeship and could also encourage future progression to Level 5 and 6 qualifications. The programme is also suitable for existing employees who are starting a new technical role within their company.

The framework covers a wide range of job roles in construction and civil engineering which broadly fit into the higher-level skills requirements for differing sectors.

Over the course of the programme you will undertake the following alongside your employment:

  • Pearson BTEC Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Construction and The Built Environment (Construction)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Construction and The Built Environment (Civil Engineering)

(Course structure is subject to DfE’s Approval)

As you progress, you will develop your skills within your role in the company gaining experience and real hands-on knowledge through the expert teams based in the business while you continue your studies at college on a day-release basis.

The BTEC Higher National (HN) qualification has been developed to meet the requirements of a number of Professional Bodies such as

  • Institution of Civil Engineers
  • Institution of Structural Engineers
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
  • Chartered Institute of Building
  • Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists

There may be the option for those who wish to progress to top up from HNC Construction to Level 5 HND by completing an additional year of student on completion of the programme.

Companies recruit directly for this course. 

Watch this video to find out more about studying this course at the College.

Special Features

How Can Your Career Benefit from a Higher Apprenticeship?
You will gain lots of valuable knowledge, practical skills and work experience as well as a recognised qualification - just the combination that can help increase your future employability, boost your CV and open new career opportunities for you.

Earn While You Learn
You will gain valuable work experience from your employer as well as gaining a recognised professional qualification and earning a regular salary.

This Higher Apprenticeship programme will allow you to start your highly-skilled career without the student debt that your university peers will have accumulated during their degree course - providing a real alternative to university.

All apprentices will be allocated a Workplace Mentor whose role will involve supervising their work within their workplace in addition to their College Mentor.

Course Update

Please note that due to redevelopments at Ballymena (Farm Lodge) campus some courses may be relocated to alternative suitable locations.

All Higher Level Apprentice applicants must be 18 years of age and be in full time employment in a relevant construction environment.

All applications are subject to an interview and must satisfy the general entry requirements as indicated below:

  • MUST hold a minimum grade C in GCSE English language and Mathematics (or equivalent); and
  • Have attained passes in four different subjects, of which one should be at GCE A level and three at GCSE level (grades A, B or C) with a minimum of 48 UCAS Tariff Points; or
  • A BTEC Extended Diploma or with good standing equivalent to 48 UCAS Tariff Points; or
  • Another qualification deemed to be appropriate by the admissions tutor; or
  • Provide evidence of their ability to undertake the programme through the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning.   All APEL claims are made through the appropriate Course Director and the College Higher Education coordinator and there will be a requirement for the applicant to produce a portfolio of experiential evidence.

Third country nationals, including European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss Nationals and their family members, are eligible to undertake a HLA provided they have a right to live and work in the UK.  See HLA page for further details.

Where mature students wish to have prior education and/or experience taken into account, in lieu of meeting the full course entry requirements, they should contact the relevant Course Director by 10th August, as an application deadline will apply.

Apprentice employment criteria

To be eligible you must meet each of the following criteria:

  • Be a new employee in, or about to take up a permanent remunerative employment offer, including a specific start date and documented evidence from the employer of the actual job offer, or an existing employee in a new job role that requires a substantial amount of learning and skills development commensurate to the apprenticeship pathway.  An exception may be made if an individual is already on an apprenticeship pathway at a lower level, with the HLA providing a progression route without the need for a new job role.  It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure this criteria is met.
  • Be employed by a company with a permanent base in Northern Ireland, and be contracted to work a minimum of 21 hours per week (which includes day release/off-the-job directed training) with one employer, and in receipt of the appropriate wage. 
  • Have the potential to successfully complete the requirements of the appropriate Higher Level Apprenticeship;
  • Meet any health requirements, e.g. colour vision, specific to the occupation of their choice;
  • Have achieved all necessary entry academic qualifications determined by the relevant sector for the Departmental approved apprenticeship; and
  • Pass any entry tests specified by the relevant sector for the Departmental approved apprenticeship.

NOTE: you may start your employment up to a maximum of 6 months prior to the commencement of your off-the-job training.  The College will require a copy of your contract of employment and a wage slip to provide evidence that you are employed.

Upon successful completion students can continue their studies by working towards a Level 5 qualification or progress into employment within the construction and civil engineering sector. 

Farm Lodge Buildings
BT43 7DF
028 2565 2871


Lisa Foster